Promentis Pharmaceuticals has for years publicly discussed its goal of commercializing a drug that uses a particular brain chemistry-regulating mechanism to treat central nervous system disorders. But it wasn’t until last week that the Milwaukee-based biotech revealed that the first clinical trial of its lead drug compound is aimed at treating trichotillomania, a chronic condition marked by hair pulling and hair loss.

It’s estimated that trichotillomania affects 1 to 4 percent of late adolescents and young adults, according to a 2011 paper in the journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. The FDA has not approved any medications specifically designed to treat trichotillomania, says Promentis CEO Klaus Veitinger.

“Some have called trichotillomania the most prevalent disease you’ve never seen,” he says. “It’s very private and personal in nature. People do everything they can to hide it.”

The most common treatments for trichotillomania today include cognitive behavioral therapy and clomipramine (Anafranil), an antidepressant used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and other conditions, according to a 2013 paper published by Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. Read the full story here.